Paradoxes of Educational Science
In summary, it is worth drawing attention to what Pasi Sahlberg (2011), calls the ‘Four Paradoxes’ of Finnish education system:
1. Less is More
a. Little correlation between intended instruction hours & resulting student performance.
b. However, on the flip side, we are being asked to do more with less, literally, e.g. increasing class sizes due to the economic recession.
2. Better Learning with Less Testing
a. This refers primarily to Formative Learning & Assessment.
b. The Pisa 2007 survey indicates that the performance of test based accountability nations (with intensified standardised testing) is in decline.
c. In contrast Finland emphasised school based curriculum, trust-based educational leadership, school collaboration via networking yet came top of the rankings.
3. More Equity Through Diversity
a. Traditionally homogeneous, since joining the EU Finland has become more culturally diverse.
b. Immigrant number limitations ought to be placed to prevent segregation. In some schools this proportion is 25%, but the impact of such a policy on communities is an open question.
c. Treatment of students based on principle of ‘Inclusiveness’. Assistant teachers needed to cope with different abilities, interests & ethnicities.
d. Equitability due to systematic attention to early intervention & close interplay between education and other sectors in Finnish society.
4. The better secondary school graduates are, the more likely they will become teachers.
a. Culturally teachers are highly regarded and survey results indicate that teaching is the most admired profession amongst young Finns – congruent with core social values: social justice, caring for others, happiness and in top 3/5 professions for choice of spouse.
b. Primary school teacher candidates must possess the highest scores, have positive personalities & excellent inter-personal skills. Only 1 in 10 applicants selected for which the high competition now demands a master’s degree.
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